Darrin Canniff will be Chatham-Kent’s new mayor

Mayor-elect Darrin Canniff speaking to his supporters. October 22, 2018. Photo by Natalia Vega).

Chatham-Kent voters are pushing for change in 2018 and they have chosen Darrin Canniff to be the leader of that movement.

With all 40 polls reporting (34,722 votes), Canniff will unofficially finish with 19,316 votes, Alysson Storey is second with 9,255 votes, and Randy Hope rounds out the top three with 4,722.

For a full rundown of who has been elected to a local council position or as a trustee at one of the local school boards, click here.

Randy Hope – with files from Angelica Haggert

After three terms, Randy Hope is not returning to the Chatham-Kent mayor’s office.

It was an emotional scene at Tru’s Grill, where Hope’s family and supporters gathered to watch poll results trickle in.

At about 8:45 p.m., once half the polls had been counted, Hope conceded.

“There’s no way I can ever get back up to the top,” said Hope. “So I guess I declare I’ve been defeated this election.”

Hope said called his time serving CK an honour and a privilege, saying he took the municipality through the toughest economic times it had seen.

“When I look at my history, I am proud of my accomplishments,” said Hope. “But you’ve got to accept what the people want.”

Hope had no advice for the incoming mayor or council members.

“It’s not for me to tell them how to run government,” he said. “The new council looks like it has their work cut out for them.”

Hope doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but did say he had missed spending time with his grandchildren as they grew up, telling them “you’ll see a lot more of me now.”

Darrin Canniff – with files from Natalia Vega 

Chatham-Kent residents have chosen Darrin Canniff to represent the municipality as mayor for the next four years.

As cheers rang through Ten – Seven Cafe and Lounge, Mayor-elect Canniff thanked his volunteers and supporters, adding that they made the “difference” in his mayoral bid and remained “positive” throughout the race.

“We did not want to go negative in any way, shape or form. I believe in positivity so that’s what we wanted to stay with,” said Canniff.

In addition to thanking his family, team, and supporters, Canniff gave some praise to the other mayoral candidates.

“Kudos to the other five candidates for being part of this process,” he said. “I give kudos to Alysson, she ran a great campaign. I give kudos to Mayor Hope for spending the last 12 years serving our community.”

Canniff said there are a lot of good things happening in Chatham-Kent but there are also a lot of changes that need to be made.

“We need to work with the incoming councillors, we need to work with the administration, we need to work with businesses and individuals in our community,” he said. “Collectively we can make a lot of great things [happen] in Chatham-Kent.”

By Canniff’s side Monday night, were his children (with the exception of one) and his wife Christine Canniff.

“It has been a really long journey the past nine months,” she said. “We are thrilled! He is just so passionate about Chatham-Kent and so we are excited to hit the ground running. He’s ready.”

Alysson Storey — with files from Greg Higgins

With no political background and running in her first election, Alysson Storey couldn’t be more proud to finish runner-up for mayor of Chatham-Kent.

“I have no regrets,” Storey said. “I was very pleased with our results. I thank all the candidates for running along with me. It’s a really tough job, it’s tough campaigning. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work and it takes a certain kind of person to put your name out there in the public.”

While Storey lost by roughly 10,000 votes, she beat incumbent Randy Hope by over 4,000 and had over 26 per cent of the total votes.

Storey thanked Hope for his 12 years of service, but added a dozen years in any role can be a long time for anyone. She said the main thing she learned from knocking on doors and talking to people during the campaign was that clearly, people wanted change.

“We still have some challenges in CK we need to fix and maybe with a fresh set of eyes we can start moving this community forward,” Storey said.

She added Chatham-Kent doesn’t poll people on who they are voting for, so she really had no idea what to expect when the results started coming in. She held her election party at Mama Maria’s in Downtown Chatham.  Attended by more than 50 supporters, the crowd went crazy after the first set of results came out and Storey was leading. The room got  quieter as Canniff took the lead, but there was also a feeling of positive optimism. Storey never appeared too upset.

After a long campaign, there is only one thing on Storey’s mind now.

“I am going to sleep,” Storey said. “To be honest, I am going to take a few days to do a recap of the campaign and meet with the team and see if there was any room for improvement. I am going to take a few days off before tackling my next challenge.”

Storey added she will continue to fight for the concrete barrier to be installed on Highway 401 between Tilbury and London.

Alysson Storey watches the election results come in with ehr supports and while she fell behind she still smiled and stayed positive. October 11, 2018. (Photo by Greg Higgins)

Alysson Storey watches the election results come in with her supports and while she fell behind she still smiled and stayed positive. October 11, 2018. (Photo by Greg Higgins)